Positioned near the top of the automotive food chain, premium full-size sport utility vehicles (SUVs) offer an exceptional level of luxury, comfort, and convenience. At a price nearing six figures (sometimes more), they appeal to a select consumer who expects a lot of bang for the buck.
Latino Traffic Report recently drove the Navigator, one of four plush Lincoln SUVs and its oldest and largest SUV nameplate Filled with lots of bells and whistles, including possibly the most comfortable seats in the business, the driving experience did not disappoint.
Redesigned for 2018, the Navigator continues to recover from two generations ago that was polarizing at best, e.g. an excessively chromed grille that made the Navigator appear to be wearing braces. The new look harkens back to Lincoln’s reputation for understated elegance.
The interior includes accents that should come with this segment, like real wood, aluminum, and leather. The test model Navigator Reserve with all-wheel drive (AWD) also came with a 12-inch configurable display in the instrument cluster, plus a ten-inch voice-activated touchscreen in the center console. The Sync3 system directed its connectivity, including access to AppleCar Play and Android Auto capability.
Modern features such as wireless charging and standard Wi-Fi, six USB ports, four 12-volt power outlets and a 110-volt plug were included. Lincoln added a new standard feature, Phone As A Key that allows owners to lock and unlock, open the liftgate and, start and drive their Navigator by utilizing the Lincoln Way app.
Features like the illuminated Lincoln logo that reflected on the ground as the driver approached for improved security, especially at night, a button to automatically fold the second and third rows, heated and cooled seats in the front, and heated seats in the second row, power running boards, and a panoramic sunroof elevated the test model even further.
SUVs this size don’t just bring luxury, they also offer some utility, namely towing and cargo capacity. A twin-turbo V6 engine with an estimated 450 horsepower and 510 lb.-ft. of torque, matched to a ten-speed automatic transmission, powers all Navigators. Maximum towing can reach 8,700 lbs. (or 8,300 lbs. when equipped with AWD) and there’s 103.3 cu. ft. of room behind behind the first row. The Navigator’s lighter, high-strength aluminum-alloy body improves the ride as well as fuel economy earning an EPA estimated 16 miles per gallon (mpg) in the city and 21 mpg on the highway. It achieved an average of 19.3 mpg on the test drive. Multiple drive modes also improved performance.
Drivability can be tricky on hefty SUVs like the Navigator but its warning bells from Advanced Park Assist, the blind spot monitor, and Pre-Collision Assist, improve confidence. Its ample size also brings another benefit, seating for eight. Equipped with the optional captain’s chairs, the test model offered seating for seven.
Other standard technology on the test model included adaptive cruise control, a hands-free liftgate, Sync3 voice activated navigation, and a head up display.
Pricing on the 2021 Navigator, including destination fees, starts at $77,480. The as-tested price came to $92,020.
Sí: The Navigator carries the aspirational brand, technology, and premium features that justify its price.
No: The test model also included Cappuccino-colored leather seats, that while elegant, showed wear on the sides of the front seats.